페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

stop the ever-increasing number of such cases, the old custom was discontinued altogether.

Now ladies of the best families, in very rare cases, go out at night deeply veiled and accompanied by their husbands. The women of the lower classes are sometimes seen in the streets in daytime, but also deeply veiled and dressed in green garments with red sleeves, which latter are only used to cover the face of the woman.

G. J. R. GLÜNICKE.

THE POPE AND THE NOVELIST

A REPLY TO MR. RICHARD BAGOT

‘Pour vivre tranquille il faut vivre loin des gens d'église,' says a witty Frenchman. There is a certain amount of truth in this for a particular class of minds. The Church's office is to teach and, in her own province, to rule her children ; she does the work of conversion. But suppose a man enters into that relation with the Church which is understood by the term 'becoming a convert,' and then sets to work to convert her, it is pretty sure that his life will not be very peaceful. There will be friction at every point; nothing will please him ; nothing will be done rightly. From Pope down to curate there will be surely something amiss which he will want to set right. So the convert finds himself always at loggerheads with his bishops and pastors, who object to being thrown out of their office and submitting to him as a magistrate and master. 'Suum cuique,' which, being interpreted, means, 'Let the cobbler stick to his last.' I have heard of a convert who was anxious to know what was his exact position in the Church which he felt he had honoured by joining. “Your exact position in the Church ? ' quoth the padre. “That's easy enough to decide. Kneeling before the altar and sitting before the pulpit. Some do not realise the lesson that they get more from the Church than she does from them. The favour, I hold, is all on her side when she receives them into communion and gives them what they cannot find elsewhere. Hence it happens that such persons who have failed to grasp the first principles of submission to a teacher and ruler, when they find that they are not accepted at their own valuation, do one of two things. After a period of restiveness they either lapse or become that peculiar specimen of humanity a bored' convert. Mr. Richard Bagot himself remarks : ‘It is not easy to feel religious when you are feeling bored.' For such the only remedy ' pour vivre tranquille’ is to live far from us 'gens d'église.' But when did the moth ever forsake the candle when once it had felt the fascination ? I will not for a moment say that the laity, hereditary Catholics or neophytes, have not got their rights, nor will I say that these rights have been, or always are, respected. But this is a very different position from that of adopting an attitude of perpetual girding against

authority. While I have sympathy with any movement which seeks by legitimate methods to obtain that recognition of the rights of the laity which the Church has always acknowledged, I will have nothing to do with the 'bored 'convert except to wish that he would take his boredom elsewhere.

Mr. Richard Bagot has given us his views on the Pope and church music, and dignifies them as a 'Roman Catholic protest.' It may be as well, before considering these views, to understand Mr. Bagot's position. He is the author of several brilliant novels, and from these and other writings I gather that a prolonged stay in Rome has had its usual effect. A man becomes there, or at least used to become, a partisan. He is either white or black and can see no good, nor tolerate the idea of there being any good, in the opposite faction. I think the position, as a matter of fact, is changing; and, with the exception of extremists on either side, most sensible people are becoming grey or piebald. But not so Mr. Bagot. He has evidently thrown himself, heart and soul, into the Quirinal party. Therefore we must expect to find that his presentments of life among the Vaticanists are tinged with the effects of party spirit. Does he want a villain? The blacks supply any number. A hero? Where should one be found but among the whites ? I am not going to say that in either ranks heroes or villains might not be found ; but I am of opinion that, as a novelist, Mr. Bagot belongs to the school of the late Mrs. Henry Wood, who drew an unnatural line of demarcation between good and bad. However it appears that Mr. Bagot is a bored convert, so nothing the Pope does pleases him. There we must leave it. It is unfortunate for Pius X., perhaps; or for Mr. Bagot. I have every wish to do my spiriting gently, and I hope that I have not in any way misrepresented his position; but I think it is necessary to make that clear before I approach bis criticisms.

We differ fundamentally, I find, on the philosophy of sacred music. This is but natural. Mr. Bagot admits that he does not examine the matter from the point of view of a musical expert; he makes the wholly unnecessary admission that technical knowledge is wanting in his case. And yet, as it is a question which touches upon the profounder side of the artistic and psychological nature of sacred music, why does he so airily write about the 'insult offered to music' by `this unfortunate and illogical decree'? I fear that I shall find abundant evidence that the imaginative gift, so valuable to a writer of fiction, has stood in the way when he approaches a subject which deals with a matter of fact. He has entirely missed the true nature of the question altogether. The spiritual, even the artistic point of view has not troubled him at all. He has not taken into consideration the elementary fact that music was made for men, not men for music, and that the art, if it be a means to a certain end, must logically be regulated by that end, and not vice versa.

Pius X., who is a true artist and, moreover, a practical musician, has issued an Instruction on Sacred Music, which he, as head of the Church, puts forth as a 'juridical code' on the subject. After all, he is only enforcing, as a strong and sensible ruler will do, existing legislation. From the days of Gregory I. (604), if not earlier, the Popes have issued decrees on the subject and Councils have legislated. In the pontificate of Leo XIII. decrees were issued several times on the subject; and this very Instruction is identical with a memorandum which Cardinal Sarto sent from Venice to his predecessor. It is also to be found in substance in a long circular addressed by the Patriarch of Venice to his clergy. The copy before me bears the date of the 1st of May, 1895. To hint, as Mr. Bagot does, with a half-veiled sneer at the Pope's antecedents, that the Instruction is largely due to the influence of Don Perosi is too extravagant an idea for those who know the independent and strong character of Pius X. It is rather he who discovered and influenced Perosi, and uses him, with other instruments, for carrying out his will. In determining to enforce the Church's legislation the Pope has been so unlucky as to displease the novelist, who promptly publishes ‘A Roman Catholic Protest.' Didn't some sartorial artists, three in number, from over the water, Southwark-way, once make a memorable protest or declaration ? Mr. Bagot should not emulate these representatives of the people of England.

I do claim in this matter to write somewhat as a musical expert and with technical knowledge, if the facts count for anything that more than thirty years ago I began life as a professional musician, and in my time have been choirmaster of one of the leading churches in London. What are called 'the Masses' I have sung, taught, and conducted times out of number, and there is little of the best modern music with which I am not familiar. But, much as I love Mozart-I take him here only as a type—I came to the conclusion, years ago, that music of this school represents only a distortion of the true artistic idea of Church music. Mind, I am speaking only of it as the music for worship. If the ideal of the times and places where Mozart wrote was a false one, I see no reason why we should be obliged to accept it to-day simply because the master composed under the adverse influences that surrounded him.

Let me put it in this way: We must have either the music of worship or the worship of music. You must choose one horn of the dilemma, and you will be led in your choice by the way you answer the question : Is music made for men or men for music ? Surely there can be no doubt as to the reply. Music must either be a mere melodious vehicle for soul-moving words, or these count for nothing and are to be overpowered by the sounds. In this case the composer, the singer, and the accompaniment will represent the chief power in the music of worship. But is not this to make the frame more important than the picture, the setting than the jewel ? Or, in a more homely phrase, is not this putting the cart before the horse ?

In the music of worship the true artistic sense demands truth, for nothing can be beautiful except it be true; and truth demands that, in this style of music, the words should be paramount and music the handmaiden ; for it is in the text that we find life and truth, not bound, but quick and powerful.

Music by itself is vague unless it has associations. Its very vagueness makes it the least material of arts, and, therefore, when properly directed, such a valuable help in worship. But this quality is also its danger. It may so soon escape control and become a veritable hindrance.

Now, I take it that worship is not vague but definite. I cannot understand people who hoot and croon at the moon as an act of worship to the Unknowable, like Mr. Mallock's Paul and Virginia on one memorable night in the Chasuble Islands. No; for reasonable beings a definite idea is required in the act of worship. Hence words, uttered or thought, are necessary; and if there be used that subtle influence of a well ordered succession of musical intervals which we call melody, either alone or in combination with other melodies, it can only rightly be employed to draw out of the soul the hidden force and life within the words. How is it that, in so many cases, words spoken have less effect than words sung? What is the marvellous power of music to raise a mortal to the skies '? Read a hymn and sing a hymn, and note the psychological difference. The simpler the strain the more marked is the increase in pathos, spirit, warmth, and love; the more complex the music the more the mind is distracted from the thoughts. In this the senses take the upper hand and the definite yields to the vague; in that reason controls all.

Regarding, then, the music of worship as a help to prayer, and as a means of attaining union with God, we get to the fundamental difference which exists between sacred music and all other kinds of music. In the act of worship I want a help, not a distraction. The true artist will recognise this and will supply the need; he will not thrust upon me something else, beautiful as it may be in its own line, which does not suit the end for which it is to be used. If I want bread what is the use of giving me a stone ? It is, therefore, from the standpoint of worship that the question of sacred music must be judged and the dispute between the Sovereign Pontiff and the novelist settled.

In the Instruction on Sacred Music the Pope lays down certain principles for our guidance ; and I can safely leave it to my readers to decide who has the real artistic instinct, Pius X. or Mr. Bagot. The Pope says:

Sacred music should possess, in the highest degree, the qualities proper to the liturgy, or, in particular, holiness, goodness of form, from which its other

Vol. LVI— No. 329

« 이전계속 »